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  • Warding Stock Exchanges, prognostication, counter-strategies

    This post will ask questions (RAW) about:
    1. Warding Stock Exchanges against Magickal foresight or divination; Spheres needed, "rituals", Acting in Concert, abilities facilitating Magick, vice-versa, duration.
    2. Possible consequences effects could impose on the Mage doing the divination.
    3. Ways that resource-hungry Mages would get around these effects.

    In my chronicle setting, I like to imagine that there are some powerful Magick Effects cast by Technomancers, often working together, that keep the Consensus relatively stable and advance the Timetable. I include effects created by TV shows, elections, science news and large scale construction projects that change the landscape.

    One of the things that the Syndicate's Market Paradigm depends on is the belief Sleepers have in a system that proports to be meritocratic, rewarding talent, hard work, service to others and risk. If all the billionaires are Mages, even though the masses do not know Mages exist, there are no Sleepers experiencing the benefits of playing the capitalist game and climbing the ladder. A statistically small number of Sleepers must belong to the economic elite.

    With Entropy 1, a Mage can chose from a list of publicly traded companies to determine which is the best short term investment. With Time 2, he can determine the exact times to buy and then sell the stock. The fortune that could be quickly accumulated would be worth the risk of detection to most, because money affords mobility and protection. Most Mages who could do this would.

    In the mundane world, investors use political science to predict commodity prices, economics to predict trends and knowledge of particular industries to predict the success of companies. They are playing by the rules that the Syndicate has established. What chance do they have against a class of Mages who corner the market through divination?

    Stock exchanges need to be Warded. Time 2 allows this, but more Spheres have to be covered. The effect has to be centered on the exchange. The exchange is not only "The Bull Pit", where anxious red-faced brokers yell out orders, it is a high value computer mainframe with a great deal of effort put into security features. It takes in data from the Internet about orders coming in from E-Trade and trading-app clients. It has a presence in the Digital Web (Correspondence).

    The building or modernization of a stock exchange, wards included, could be considered:
    - Several Mages acting in concert, combining Spheres in a Ritual where Magick successes are piled up, benefiting from help from Extraordinary Citizens. Lots of quint, sparing no expense.
    - ability rolls like Intel + Computers enhancing Magick in a feedback loop

    The goal of the effect is to prevent Magickal prediction, but allow normal educated bets to be unhindered. To do this, Prime 2 (enchanting), Matter 4 and Forces 3 would be needed to enhance the architecture of the mainframe. Time 2 and Entropy 3+ to ward against those Spheres being used to divine stock fluctuation. Correspondence 5 to insulate it in the Digital Web or define it's extradimensional properties.

    If you wanted to punish Magickal Scrying, a Mind 3, Entropy 3, Correspondence 4 effect could bombard the diviner with an overload of information that causes Quiet and misleads their divination.

    An estimate of how many successes the effect has could be made based on factors like average Stamina and Willpower. Maybe Progenitor Pharmacopoeists make their best amphetamines available. I imagine Syndicate - Financiers, ItX - Time Motion Managers and Statisticians as the primary actors. Then, how long does the effect last? How many successes are needed to overcome it? Can the original casters bypass their own effect?

    How does this improve the actual story?
    1. It prevents overnight fortunes from being accumulated with little effort.
    2. It still allows for insider trading. A Mage with Correspondence 2, Mind 3 could read the thoughts of a key decision-maker in a company to find out about hidden debt, acquisition plans or successful R&D. They would have to compare information from multiple sources and use Abilities to inform their analysis.
    3. It encourages Mages to generate wealth by methods other than passive divination - forming companies themselves, pulling dangerous heists or other challenging means.
    4. It makes billionaire Sleeper NPCs a realistic idea, RAW. They would be the subject of Influence Competition.

    Other tie-ins:
    - Marauders immune to the info-bombardment.
    - A determined diviner becoming a Marauder after repeated attempts, "The Mad Oracle".
    - One of the Mages involved in the original effect being Barrabi. The Nephandi have a backdoor.













  • #2
    Mess around with time enough and Wrinkle shows up to put you in time out.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Dwight View Post
      Mess around with time enough and Wrinkle shows up to put you in time out.
      Yeah, but not arbitrarily. You need to actually accrue Paradox to justify Wrinkle showing up; nothing above comes close to manipulating time, save for making a Time Ward, I suppose, though I'd argue that affirmatively prevents manipulation. The Storyteller can obviously wave their hand and make anything happen, and they're in their right to do so, but unless they state from the outset that there are effects that aren't explicitly paradoxical RAW, but will nevertheless get a Paradox spirit called on them (just skipping past the misdemeanor stage and straight on to capital offense punishment,) they're abandoning the pretense of there being any meaning to the Rules; i.e., it's just Calvinball at that point.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
        The Storyteller can obviously wave their hand and make anything happen, and they're in their right to do so, but unless they state from the outset that there are effects that aren't explicitly paradoxical RAW, but will nevertheless get a Paradox spirit called on them (just skipping past the misdemeanor stage and straight on to capital offense punishment,) they're abandoning the pretense of there being any meaning to the Rules; i.e., it's just Calvinball at that point.
        I would like to know under what conditions my story becomes Calvinball (doesn't count). I need Entropy to understand this sentence.

        Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
        The Storyteller can obviously wave their hand and make anything happen, and they're in their right to do so, but
        Okay, putting this part aside. Everything that follows is a separate statement.

        Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
        unless they state from the outset that there are effects that aren't explicitly paradoxical RAW, but will nevertheless get a Paradox spirit called on them (just skipping past the misdemeanor stage and straight on to capital offense punishment,)
        Unless I say that there are some effects that will incur very severe Paradox that wouldn't normally incur Paradox under Rules As Written... (So, a discussion of house rules that happens around the time of character creation.)

        Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
        they're abandoning the pretense of there being any meaning to the Rules; i.e., it's just Calvinball at that point.
        any account of the chronicle is not an actual Mage campaign.

        The effects described in OP are a proposal that other STs could use. I am fielding opinions about how Warding a Stock Market would work. More importantly, what Magickal consequence could be imposed on "oracles" trying to game the market? I suggested Quiet being the consequence of a preloaded information overload. Wrinkle, as far as I know, isn't an ally of the Technocracy. The deterrent effect does not have to be paradox. It could be a Mind, Entropy effect.

        Is this a Mage campaign?
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrgH...hannel=Roll4It

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        • #5
          As someone who has worked in the securities industry, I can say that the entire "market" would be as hard to effect as the entire human population. Certainly, you can use Time and Entrop effects to broadly predict market moves, but this would largely be coincidental, and would merely give bonus dice to Finance rolls.

          Markets and exchanges are by their nature decentralized. The actual trader pits we see on TV are just where the floor specialists do their thing. Most broker dealers do their work in offices around the world, sending trades to data centers that are located far away from where the physical exchanges are located. After 9/11, the two major money center banks that clear bond trading (JPMorgan Chase and BONY) activated their back up sights and now each have the machinery needed to do trades located far away from places that can get bombed by terrorists. The scene from The Dark Knight Rises where Bane and his men tap into 'the exchange' with laptops is entirely untrue. The data centers for the federal reserve banks and the NYSE/NASDAQ are dispersed across the entire country, with backup sites ready to come online at a moment's notice. These were made legal requirements by the Fed after 9/11.

          While the Syndicate, House Fortunae, and several other Mages dabble in the market (or even use it as a magickal tool!), the various exchanges are too dispersed to be affected physically. When 9/11 happened and the trading staff of Deutsche Bank was all killed on their trading floor in the WTC, the offices in Munich picked up bond trading the next day. I know because I was working the Greenwich Capital Markets triparty desk at 4 New York Plaza the day before and got told the entire story. I worked for JPMChase between 1998 and 2010 for their Broker-Dealer services division.

          The way that the Syndicate would "ward the stock market" is to work with NWO prognosticators and track down market movements that seem to be predicated on future knowledge or are out of line with long-standing trends, and then work their own counter procedures to offset the monetary effect of the tampering. Syndicate magic men and NWO grey hats would play the usual cat and mouse game that Technocrats play with Council Mages. Affecting the stock market depends on affecting the beliefs of market players, using large scale, multiple succeses rituals that would be encoded into social media postings, news articles, or other coincidental means. Even mystics have means to affect the market - House Fortunae numerologists and astrology can "prove" that a certain stock can break this way or that, and Shi Ren predictionists advise Asian market leaders using the Tao Te Ching. Prosperity Gospel christian mages ask god for intervention in the market. Mage rituals that take various forms protect companies from magical attacks on their stock price, be it wiccan rites or an audit or reorganization.


          Mages can certainly affect markets, but it's not through affecting the physical hardware or locations. Its by affecting the people who invest and work in the markets. Capitalism is a human endeavor, and the best way to control en economy is ti nudge the people who participate it. This is no different than any other form of reality warfare.

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          • #6
            Paradox and the Markets - Paradox would be very easy to implement if a Mage screws around too much with the markets. Say a cabal of Mages tries to make a real change in the current economic paradigm by using a large scale, multi-day, mind/entropy effect that makes everyone crazy for a new stock. Market history is replete with zooming highs and then crashing lows.If this Cabal that uses luck and emotion magick fails their coincidental magic ritual roll just once, or worse, botches, the entire company collapses. Paradox effect might be things like an SEC investigation, some scandal, or some massive defect being found in a product. These kinds of paradox effects can be massive bad luck for the mages involved, utter economic ruin, and paradox effects making it impossible for them to earn money, every again. Even effects that demand that the Mage go to a Paradox realm can be a Mage being sent to jail for stock fraud, unable to use their magick until the realm duration is done.

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            • #7
              Its also my opinion as a Mage ST that while any Mage with the right Spheres can make themselves materially comfortable without much effort (Use Time to win a few hundred $$ at lotto or playing options, use Matter to make what you need or to counterfeit twenties, etc), actually changing capitalism is attacking one of the pillars of the Technocracy is a long term strategem that Council Mages have been struggling with for hundreds of years. The system of stock exchanges and the secondary market is a mighty walled fortress of the Technocracy. The Union has committed itself to western captalism and will fight viciously to defend it.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Robert Armsley View Post
                Its also my opinion as a Mage ST that while any Mage with the right Spheres can make themselves materially comfortable without much effort (Use Time to win a few hundred $$ at lotto or playing options, use Matter to make what you need or to counterfeit twenties, etc), actually changing capitalism is attacking one of the pillars of the Technocracy is a long term strategem that Council Mages have been struggling with for hundreds of years. The system of stock exchanges and the secondary market is a mighty walled fortress of the Technocracy. The Union has committed itself to western captalism and will fight viciously to defend it.
                The Traditions' best attack fronts are island tax-shelter economies, where multinational corporations and billionaires keep their wealth. Why confront a military contracting firm in America, surrounded by trigger happy mercenaries when you can skip that and book a trip to the touristy island where the laundrette-bank is situated. Get some sun, catch some waves and spy the piss out of the Syndicate. While your there, talk to the locals about their concerns with regard to global warming and sea level rise. Build a social network where it is most useful. I haven't paid too much attention to the existing Crafts in my chronicles, since I'm more inclined to invent my own, but damn, the Kopa Loei are ideal for undermining the Syndicate.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post

                  The Traditions' best attack fronts are island tax-shelter economies, where multinational corporations and billionaires keep their wealth. Why confront a military contracting firm in America, surrounded by trigger happy mercenaries when you can skip that and book a trip to the touristy island where the laundrette-bank is situated. Get some sun, catch some waves and spy the piss out of the Syndicate. While your there, talk to the locals about their concerns with regard to global warming and sea level rise. Build a social network where it is most useful. I haven't paid too much attention to the existing Crafts in my chronicles, since I'm more inclined to invent my own, but damn, the Kopa Loei are ideal for undermining the Syndicate.

                  I am sure that this is par for the course for Ascension Warriors. Also, don't forget the digital web! This is where a bunch of thievery and cyber warfare would happen, with NWO and Iterator mages chasing Virtual Adepts and other who crash financial data bases and who gleefully move money and steel information.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post
                    I would like to know under what conditions my story becomes Calvinball (doesn't count).
                    Well, "Calvinball" doesn't meant that the story "doesn't count," (if you recall from the comic strips, the game always mattered a great deal to both Calvin and Hobbes.) If your story or game becomes "Calvinball," it simply means that you are arbitrarily inventing and disregarding the written rules of the game--i.e., making up the rules as you go along to ensure that the game goes how you would like it to go--without regard for consistency, or even the pretense of playing the games as written. That said, your players may love that; and even if they don't, if you're running the game, you decide what "counts" and what doesn't.

                    Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post
                    I need Entropy to understand this sentence.
                    I think this is trying to say that the quoted sentence is hard to read, but I don't know what about Entropy would theoretically make this easier. I think "reading comprehension" probably fall under the purview of the Mind sphere.

                    Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post
                    Okay, putting this part aside. Everything that follows is a separate statement.
                    It's all one statement. There's a prefatory clause that establishes a baseline, axiomatic idea about the topic at hand, followed by the supposition being argued for.

                    Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post
                    ​Unless I say that there are some effects that will incur very severe Paradox that wouldn't normally incur Paradox under Rules As Written... (So, a discussion of house rules that happens around the time of character creation.)
                    Basically. If you tell people at character creation time "I can and will, from time to time, decide that certain effects are worthy of one of the strongest possible forms of paradox backlash, regardless of whether you have any extant paradox, or whether the effect is vulgar per the written rules of the game, or whether you had notice that an arguably coincidental effect would in fact incur a heavy backlash," then you've at least pre-determined and established the part of the rules that people simply cannot rely upon, and the folks who stick around and play the game know exactly the game they're playing.

                    Ultimately, rules in these games are the only meaningful way that players have to interact with the game world. PC's get to walk around do things as if they were people in the fictional world because the rulebook says that, in that game, they are portraying people that are capable of doing more or less everything regular people in the real world are capable of (with whatever stated exceptions; obviously vampires drink blood and burn in the sun.) If the book says a player can do X, or rely on some facet of the game world functioning in Y manner... they're ideally entitled to rely upon that until notified of the rule changing--and if the rule does change, they're entitled to know what the new rule is and how it works, ideally in clear and concise terms. Having said that, there are games, like Paranoia, that play with this dynamic by portraying a world with secret rules, contradictory and self-contradictory rules, etc., with the steepest of penalties for breaking any one of them; but the fun of that game is in highlighting the absurdity of a system in which you can never really rely on anything functioning or happening as advertised or the way it's supposed to (and the futility of trying to achieve anything in such a world.)

                    Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post
                    any account of the chronicle is not an actual Mage campaign.

                    The effects described in OP are a proposal that other STs could use. I am fielding opinions about how Warding a Stock Market would work. More importantly, what Magickal consequence could be imposed on "oracles" trying to game the market? I suggested Quiet being the consequence of a preloaded information overload. Wrinkle, as far as I know, isn't an ally of the Technocracy. The deterrent effect does not have to be paradox. It could be a Mind, Entropy effect.
                    I get the point of the thread, and I made some substantive contributions above. I was just pointing out that it's potentially problematic to declare a given course of action as being paradoxical enough to immediately incur a visit from a Paradox spirit, without articulating a rationale or greater principle for why that would be (beyond just the storyteller's momentary ipse dixit, or because it would be inconvenient.)

                    Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post
                    I didn't watch the whole thing, but it appears and purports to be someone's homebrew of what M5 might be like--so I guess it is Mage campaign/game on its face. Presumably the people playing the game are aware of what the rules are, all parties have agreed to be bound by the rules, and those pre-agreed rules are being followed. Don't get me wrong, even a very heavily house ruled Mage game (or Werewolf, or Vampire, or D&D, or whatever) is what it purports to be--I'm not arguing for a schema in which X% of deviation from RAW means that you are no longer playing whatever game.
                    Last edited by CaptOtter; 12-04-2020, 06:55 PM.


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                    • #11
                      Mage the only game where someone can ask how you can protect you stocks against black magic economics.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
                        Mage the only game where someone can ask how you can protect you stocks against black magic economics.
                        Mage: the only game where HR might be useful to the workers and CEOs can have magic powers

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Robert Armsley View Post
                          Its also my opinion as a Mage ST that while any Mage with the right Spheres can make themselves materially comfortable without much effort (Use Time to win a few hundred $$ at lotto or playing options, use Matter to make what you need or to counterfeit twenties, etc), actually changing capitalism is attacking one of the pillars of the Technocracy is a long term strategem that Council Mages have been struggling with for hundreds of years. The system of stock exchanges and the secondary market is a mighty walled fortress of the Technocracy. The Union has committed itself to western captalism and will fight viciously to defend it.
                          Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post

                          The Traditions' best attack fronts are island tax-shelter economies, where multinational corporations and billionaires keep their wealth. Why confront a military contracting firm in America, surrounded by trigger happy mercenaries when you can skip that and book a trip to the touristy island where the laundrette-bank is situated. Get some sun, catch some waves and spy the piss out of the Syndicate. While your there, talk to the locals about their concerns with regard to global warming and sea level rise. Build a social network where it is most useful. I haven't paid too much attention to the existing Crafts in my chronicles, since I'm more inclined to invent my own, but damn, the Kopa Loei are ideal for undermining the Syndicate.

                          Ironically, the best way for the Traditions to fight state capitalism/Technocracy capitalism might be the free market... in the form of counter-economics, or more accurately, counter-Hypereconomics.

                          Think about it: fiat currency was a hack on the gold standard. The Virtual Adepts are all about Reality Hacking. According to the Hypereconomics entry in M20, there are VA Hypereconomists. So, with those factors in mind, think about cryptocurrency, not just as a thing that exists, but also as a Virtual Adept project, an untraceable, untaxable, uncontrollable Reality Hack on Technocracy controlled fiat currencies. Given time (and some Adepts looking at Prime through a Syndicate lens), it could be used as a form of Primal Utility: the VA are all about the flow of information; cryptocurrencies are information flowing through the Internet, but they have the potential to be Quintessence moving through the Digital Web as well.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post

                            Stock exchanges need to be Warded. Time 2 allows this, but more Spheres have to be covered. The effect has to be centered on the exchange. The exchange is not only "The Bull Pit", where anxious red-faced brokers yell out orders, it is a high value computer mainframe with a great deal of effort put into security features. It takes in data from the Internet about orders coming in from E-Trade and trading-app clients. It has a presence in the Digital Web (Correspondence).

                            The building or modernization of a stock exchange, wards included, could be considered:
                            - Several Mages acting in concert, combining Spheres in a Ritual where Magick successes are piled up, benefiting from help from Extraordinary Citizens. Lots of quint, sparing no expense.
                            - ability rolls like Intel + Computers enhancing Magick in a feedback loop
                            Why do they need to be Warded against prognostication? The Chaoticians have predicted every recession of the 20th and 21st centuries (and told the Syndicate, but the Syndicate always ignores them); Warding the stock markets against prognostication would deprive the Chaoticians of the ability to predict recessions, thereby depriving the WoD of one of it's best economic protections.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JagneStormskull View Post

                              Why do they need to be Warded against prognostication? The Chaoticians have predicted every recession of the 20th and 21st centuries (and told the Syndicate, but the Syndicate always ignores them); Warding the stock markets against prognostication would deprive the Chaoticians of the ability to predict recessions, thereby depriving the WoD of one of it's best economic protections.

                              Because, all of the billionaires would be Mages. There have to be sleeper-billionaires experiencing the benefits of playing by the rules to fuel the Syndicate's market-consensus. A stock market crash - if you are interested in preventing one - occurs when all the smaller investors (sleepers) pull out. They might not know that it's magick that allows Mage-billionaires to stay rich, but the sleepers are sure they are missing some sort of edge that is needed to win. If sleepers can't see a way of winning, they won't play.

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